What Is WiFi Channel?
The 802.11 standard for WiFi networks provides several distinct radio frequency ranges for use in WiFi communications, with the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands being used most often. Both of these frequency bands consist of multiple channels.
The 2.4 GHz band has a total of fourteen channels, but not all of them are allowed in all countries. In North America, for example, only 11 of the 14 channels can be used. Each channel in the 2.4 GHz band is 22 MHz wide, and there are 5 MHz gaps between the centers of adjacent channels.
This means that all channels except for the channels 1, 6, and 11 (or 2, 7, 12 or 3, 8, 13 or 4, 9, 14, if allowed) overlap.
The situation is a lot better in the 5 GHz band because there’s much more space. The 5 GHz band offers 23 non-overlapping 20 MHz wide channels, as well as several 40 MHz, 80 MHz, and 160 MHz channels.
When two or more WiFi routers are on the same channel, interference may occur and reduce the throughput of the network. Interference may also occur when multiple WiFi routers broadcast on overlapping channels. Ideally, each router in an area should broadcast on a different non-interfering channel, which is only possible with the help of a WiFi channel analyzer tool such as NetSpot.
While WiFi routers have been broadcasting on the 2.4 GHz band since the original version of the 802.11 standard was released in 1997, the 5 GHz band hasn’t seen much in terms of utilization until the release of the 802.11n standard in 2009.
The latest WiFi standard, 802.11ac, supports both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, giving users who know how to change WiFi channel an excellent opportunity to achieve higher speeds and greater coverage.